Shopping spree for luxury cruisers? Not in a month of Whitsundays

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B_MS_EUROPA_on_the_High_Seas.jpgConsistently nominated as the world’s best cruise ship, MS Europa is the pinnacle of luxury and the only vessel to be awarded a five-star plus rating by the fastidious Douglas Ward of the Berlitz Guide – a feat achieved every year since 2000.
The flagship of Hapag-Lloyd’s exclusive fleet, it carries 408 pampered guests, each of them travelling in a spacious suite with separate living and sleeping areas, and almost all with a private balcony. No poky inside cabins here – except for the crew.
Most of the passengers are German, although the ship provides menus, documentation and guides in English if more than 15 English-speaking passengers book. There will be at least that number on the current leg of the voyage, a 20-day cruise from Darwin to Sydney for which the minimum fare was £7,700.
The top fare for the complete 159-day voyage from Dubai to Lisbon, which started on December 1 and will end on May 8, was more than £150,000 per person.
There’s a restaurant supervised by the Michelin 3-star chef Dieter Muller, and a boast that even on a round-the-world cruise no menu will ever be repeated.
Ward’s description of the main dining room goes into rhapsodies about the “Dibbern china, 150-gram weight Robbe & Berking silverware and Riedel wine glasses,” (No? Me neither) and he seems very taken by the fact that passengers can choose their own music in the Ocean Spa’s treatment rooms. Perhaps someone should buy him an iPod.
Nevertheless, you might expect that even with that level of comfort and ultra-luxury on board, passengers would be interested in stepping ashore occasionally to see something of the world outside.
Apparently not. The ship made an unexpected call at the Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia this week, after being prevented from docking at Cairns because of bad weather.
Local shopkeepers, who see about 700,000 visitors a year, prepared for a bonanza shopping spree, bringing in extra staff to cope with the extra crowds. They were in for a big disappointment.
Lyn Gregson, who operates seven stores on the main street told ABC North Queensland: “We gear up highly for these events ; they are normally great spenders and we are the beneficiaries of some great income through these cruise ships.
“Unfortunately, it’s been a bit disappointing, we haven’t achieved additional sales.”
No additional sales? From 400 uber-rich passengers? Surely not, Lyn. There must have been some effect.
” It’s not even left a ripple on what’s happening in our stores. Very few guests have come into the stores, six to be exact across two of the souvenir stores, that’s all morning, so that’s really disappointing.”
There you have it. Six passengers who chose to go looking for souvenirs in the Whitsundays. Perhaps the remainder are saving their cash for a night at the Sydney Opera House next week.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:10+00:00 10 February 2011|Cruise Destinations, Cruise News|1 Comment

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

One Comment

  1. SYBIL 11 February 2011 at 12:11 am - Reply

    Don’t mention Basil Fawlty

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